Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Yakuza: Dead Souls (2011)

aka: Yakuza of the End

Genre: Action / Adventure | Players: 1 | Developer: Sega

Dead Souls is a spin-off from the main Yakuza series but takes place after the events of Yakuza 4, so play 4 first if you can. It’s once again set in the (not so) fictional Kamurocho. You‘re still Kazuma Kiryu, the Dragon of Dojima, the Yakuza with a heart (and a fist to the face if you step out of line), but the plot is less complex than usual, being less concerned about Yakuza politics and more about ridiculous over the top events.

The series always had guns but not like this: the brawling is out and it's guns for everyone. I feared it would be a shitty third person shooter, but it isn't. It’s Yakuza through and through, just with guns.

Oh, and zombies. The undead have taken over Kamurocho and it’s up to Kazuma and a few other cast members to clean up the (Pink) streets. If you know the map you can run and gun without stopping from the Kamurocho Hills to Don Quijote. But if you’re new to the series you’ll likely be spending a lot of time on the map screen plotting the quickest route, getting frustrated about roadblocks and wondering who the hell everyone is.

Yakuza veterans will already know it's one of the finest underappreciated gems of the gaming world. It’s consistently good. I've not encountered a glitch in any of the titles, which is rare for an open world game. For a series that uses the same location repeatedly it’s managed to keep things fresh by adding new elements.

The story structure is similar to the previous title in that you control one character at a time until his part has ended; they're on the box art, so that isn't spoiler. Shun Akiyama returns and is his usual lazy self. Better than that, you get to play as Mad Dog Goro Majima. Holy Mother of Fuck! Being Majima is every bit as exciting as I’d always imagined it would be. He's a demon.

The sub-stories are all in place; many of which will have you popping in and out of the quarantine zone to help some poor sap who’s lost his wife, or similar. The hostess bars, restaurants, playing pool, darts, table tennis, baseball, getting drunk, gambling, the weapon/armour upgrades, etc, are the same as always. It’s the Yakuza we've come to love. Once again, Premium Adventure is unlocked, so don’t stress over those unfound sub-stories.

5 Shenmue Easter eggs out of 5

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